Dr. Joseph Frey, a psychologist in Augusta, GA, routinely performs forensic consultations to support court proceedings. Having practiced in Augusta, GA, since 2001, Dr Joseph Frey has assessed numerous individuals and determined their competency to stand trial.
In the legal system, competency to stand trial refers to a person’s mental state at the time that he or she would be the subject of legal proceedings. To be able to appear before a judge, a person must be able to understand the charges and must be capable of participating in their own defense. This means that he or she must be able to communicate with an attorney, process information that the attorney presents, and make decisions based on this information.
To determine whether a defendant’s mental illness or developmental challenges stands in the way of his or her competency, a psychologist will conduct an evaluation. The evaluation tests whether the defendant can recall and explain events, testify on his or her own behalf, and plan a defense based on a comprehension of possible penalties. If a defendant’s mental illness or developmental disabilities makes him or her incapable of any of these processes, the court may rule that the person is incompetent to stand trial. The court will frequently then order the defendant to undergo inpatient psychiatric treatment and request re-evaluation after several months.
As a private practice psychologist in Augusta, GA, Dr. Joseph Frey provides clients with services such as psychological assessments, family therapy, and forensic consultation. He earned his PhD in clinical psychology with a focus on the family from Georgia State University. A member of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Joseph Frey also holds board certification from the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).
The American Board of Professional Psychology offers board certification to guarantee the professional services offered by psychologists. The process to receive certification begins with a credentials review, followed by peer review of practice samples, and then an oral examination conducted by board-certified psychologists. Some boards in specific areas, such as forensic psychology and clinical neuropsychology, require a written examination in addition.
For more information about the application process, visit ABPP’s website at www.abpp.org. The site includes further details on each step of the process and on the different options, such as the Early Entry Program and the Senior Option in Examinations, as well as an infographic of the process.
Board-certified as a diplomate in clinical psychology, Dr. Joseph Frey maintains a private practice in Augusta, GA, and owns Psychological Specialists of Augusta. With a background in forensic consultation and business and management psychology, he has more than three decades of experience and has conducted individual psychotherapy with people of all ages. Since 2002, Joseph Frey has also served as a partner with the organization Partners in Achievement (PIA).
Dedicated to helping students be successful in an academic environment, Partners in Achievement helps students though two academic improvement programs. PIA’s longest-running program, PACE, stands for Processing and Cognitive Enhancement and has been tested in more than 350 schools over a period of more than 10 years. Focused on improving the brain’s processing rather than a specific academic skill or behavior, PACE has been proven to benefit both children and adults with memory deficits, dyslexia, attention problems, and other learning disabilities.
The second program, Master the Code (MTC), helps to address reading speed and comprehension issues. Designed to help readers who read too slowly, cannot concentrate, or exhibit other reading difficulties, MTC can help identify problem skill areas such as memory, segmenting, blending, and visualization, among others. MTC features one-on-one training and a kit for all students so that they are less likely to fall back into bad reading habits.
As a clinical psychologist practicing in the Augusta, GA, area, Joseph Frey, PhD, performs psychological evaluations of adults, adolescents, and children. In addition, he works with the justice system, performing court-ordered evaluations and determining defendants’ competency to stand trial. Dr. Joseph Frey also works with several businesses in and around the Augusta, GA, area, consulting on business and management psychology.
Located on Georgia’s northeastern border, at the head of the navigable portion of the Savannah River, Augusta occupies nearly all the land area of Richmond County. In 1996, the citizens of the city and the county voted to consolidate the two governments to form Augusta-Richmond County, with a mayor- commission system. Originally established in 1736 by a detachment of troops sent upriver from Savannah, the settlement was named Augusta to honor the wife of the Prince of Wales, whose son was the future King George III. The settlement served a strategic purpose as a first line of defense against attacks on coastal settlements from the interior.
Augusta boasts a rich history and has preserved many of its historic neighborhoods and buildings, including the only building ever constructed by the government of the Confederacy, the Confederate Powderworks. Today, the city is home to almost 200,000 people, who are employed primarily in healthcare and manufacturing, as well as the military. The city is well known around the world as the site of the Masters Golf Tournament, held the first full week in April at the Augusta National Golf Club.
In the early sixties, an impatient foursome waiting nearly an hour to play the next hole of a golf course considered the idea of building and operating their own golf course. Though it was a spontaneous suggestion, it soon became reality. One of the four had already been accumulating land for potential development in Columbia County, Georgia, and soon he owned a little over 700 acres, including a lake to serve as a water source for lawn maintenance. With the land purchased, the group established West Lake Development Company, a corporation comprised of 50 individuals, each owning a share in the golf course development.
Once funding and land were acquired, the group hired engineers and managers to help design the course. Though the construction took a bit longer than originally planned, with setbacks from severe weather, the West Lake Country Club opened for business in March 1969. The club gained even more exposure and business as the result of a temporary partnership with Sports Illustrated, which introduced 100 business people to the course during Master’s Week.
Today the West Lake Country Club continues to flourish and offers, in addition to golf, tennis courts, a fitness center, and a pool. Members also enjoy socializing through the onsite restaurants.
About the author: Dr. Joseph Frey is a member of the West Lake Country Club.
By Joseph Frey
Determining competency to stand trial allows for the postponement of criminal proceedings for defendants who are unable to participate in their defense due to a mental or physical disorder or retardation. Courts appoint psychologists to conduct forensic mental health assessments. The defendant must be found to be oriented to time and place with some recollection of events. Additionally, defendants must demonstrate sufficient ability to consult with their attorneys with a reasonable degree of rational and factual understanding of the proceedings against them. The results of the competency evaluation influence a judge’s decision, most of whom concur with recommendations issued by the forensic psychologist. About 20% of felony defendants are found not competent to stand trial.
Forensic psychologists maintain no consensus on how competency evaluations should be conducted, though most guidelines and publications acknowledge the inadequacy of traditional clinical interviews. Some psychologists administer traditional psychological tests, but instruments specifically designed to measure competency are now widely available. For example, researchers at the MacArthur Foundation developed the MacCAT-CA, which many in the field view as promising.
About the Author
A Licensed Psychologist in independent practice, Joseph Frey conducts forensic consultations, including competency-to-stand-trial assessments. Dr. Frey also provides psychological consultations at Partners in Achievement.
While each child is unique, learning styles tend to fall into three distinct categories: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Auditory learners do better by listening rather than reading. Expecting an auditory learner to excel by reading sets all involved up for frustration. However, providing the same material in an auditory format plays to this learner’s strengths.
Visual learners thrive on charts, graphs, videos, and text. At the same time, they may experience difficulty understanding spoken instructions. Telling a visual learning child to attend to certain chores may not be productive, while leaving notes with instructions will most likely yield favorable outcomes.
Kinesthetic learners need to feel what they are learning. Hands-on experiences and activities are best for this group of learners. Understandably, children who need to move and touch to learn have difficulty sitting for long stretches of time.
The adage in Proverbs states, “Educate the child according to his way, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Written by King Solomon, these words ring just as true today. By acquainting themselves with their child’s style of learning, parents can help teachers create a path for success in the future.
About Dr. Joseph Frey: A seasoned psychologist and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Medical College of Georgia, Dr. Joseph Fray is a co-owner of Partners in Achievement Learning Centers in Augusta, Georgia.